The New Fiction Confab invites several of the most notable authors publishing new work to spend a day in Austin’s libraries leading writing workshops, reading their work, and engaging in conversations that offer the community a unique opportunity to explore and discuss contemporary fiction with the authors shaping America’s literary landscape. The Confab is one of the Library Foundation’s largest literary programs, spotlighting the finest fiction on bookshelves today, and the authors who bring these novels and stories to life.
Our 2016 Confab featured eight authors: Kaitlyn Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman), Karan Mahajan (The Association of Small Bombs), Karen Olsson (All the Houses), Alexander Chee (The Queen of the Night), Samantha Hunt (Mr. Splitfoot), Kirk Lynn (Rules for Werewolves), Virginia Reeves (Work Like Any Other), and Sunil Yapa (The Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist).
The event also featured the Austin Lit Fair, which allowed readers to meet and learn more about Austin-based publishers and literary magazines.
About the Authors
Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and the newly released The Queen of the Night, which portrays a young woman creating her own fate as an opera singer in 1880s Paris. Chee is a contributing editor at The New Republic and an editor-at-large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Amherst College, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Texas. He lives in New York City, where he curates the Dear Reader series at Ace Hotel New York.
Kaitlyn Greenidge was born in Boston and received her MFA from Hunter College. Her debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, “is a masterful meditation on race, anthropology, history, and the hurly-burly complications of family,” says author Bill Cheng. Her work has appeared in The Believer, American Short Fiction, Guernica, Kweli Journal, The Feminist Wire, Afro Pop Magazine, Green Mountains Review, and other publications. Greenidge is the recipient of a 2016 NEA fellowship in literature and fellowships from Lower Manhattan Community Council’s Work-Space Program and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She lives in Brooklyn.
Samantha Hunt’s The Invention of Everything Else was a finalist for the Orange Prize and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. After the publication of her first novel, The Seas, she was selected for the inaugural 5 Under 35 National Book Foundation program. Hunt’s latest novel, Mr. Splitfoot, is a contemporary gothic, a subversive ghost story, and a compelling mystery wrapped into a single spellbinding tale. Hunt’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and McSweeney's. She lives in Tivoli, New York.
Kirk Lynn is one of six coproducing artistic directors of Rude Mechs theater collective. He is the head of the playwriting and directing area in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, and received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. His debut novel, Rules for Werewolves, explores themes of shelter, escape, family, and violence. Lynn lives in Austin, with his wife, poet Carrie Fountain, and their children.
Karan Mahajan was born in 1984 and grew up in New Delhi, India. His first novel, Family Planning, was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and published in nine countries. His latest novel, The Association of Small Bombs, explores how we think and talk about terror, and how the word “bomb” has absorbed so many cultural connotations. Mahajan’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered, The New Yorker online, The Believer, The Paris Review Daily, and Bookforum. A graduate of Stanford University and the Michener Center for Writers, he lives in Austin.
Karen Olsson is the author of the novel Waterloo. Her latest novel, All the Houses, depicts the shape-shifting of family relationships when outside forces work their way in. She has written about politics, science, and popular culture for publications including The New York Times Magazine and Texas Monthly, where she is a contributing editor. She is also a former editor of The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., she now lives in Austin, with her family.
Virginia Reeves is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. Her debut novel, Work Like Any Other, is an affecting novel of dispossession, injustice, and regret that explores the lengths to which the broken among us push forward. Reeves’s fiction has appeared in The Common and the Baltimore Review and has been short-listed for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest and the Alexander Patterson Cappon Prize for Fiction. Originally from Helena, Montana, she currently lives in Austin.
Sunil Yapa holds a bachelor’s degree in economic geography from Penn State University and an MFA from Hunter College. His debut novel, The Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, is set among the World Trade Organization protests of 1999, and casts an eye on the nature of limits compassion, and the difference between what is right and what is possible. Yapa is the biracial son of a Sri Lankan father and a mother from Montana. He has lived in Greece, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, China, and India, as well as London, Montreal, and New York City.
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